Fighting games are like some sort of detox. After playing game after game where I’m living a power fantasy playing a fighting game can be a slap to the face, a reminder that I’m not as good as I think. One on one there are no excuses. Failure needs to be owned. Lessons must be learned. Inventive swear words must fill the air like so many angry, foul-mouthed bees. And my favourite fighting game series in history is Mortal Kombat. I’ve been playing them since Mortal Kombat 2, and now we’re up to the 11th numbered game in the series. For a while things were rough, but then NetherRealm made an epic comeback in 2011. Since then, Mortal Kombat has been better than ever. But Mortal Kombat 11…well, it’s a little trickier.
Close to the Sun likes to label each of its chapters based on Greek mythology, mentioning characters like Icarus. So let me get a bit posh here and chat about Icarus, too. You’ve probably heard the story: Icarus is the son of Daedalus, the designer of the famous Labyrinth where the Minotaur dwelt. The tale goes that Minos imprisoned Daedalus and Icarus in a tower to keep the secret of the maze safe. The two prisoners used feathers and wax to create wings, and leapt from the tower. Daedalus told his son not to fly too high or else the sun would melt the wax holding his wings together, and not to fly too low which would wet the feathers. But because Icarus was a fucking moron he flew too Close to the Sun (HA!) and his wings melted, thus he fell into the sea and drowned. The end. Close to the Sun tries to fly up to the narrative heights of brilliance but its wings start to melt. So it tries to fly down to the cold depths of horror and nearly drowns. And so Close to the Sun never does find its balance. It never soars high in the sky, nor skims the waves. Jesus, this has turned too philosophical. I need a beer or something. Let’s just review this thing, yeah?
The more cities I build, parks I run and businesses I manage it becomes clearer and clearer that I should never be allowed in a position of power. Somehow my ventures always end up in flames, at least three dead donkeys and half the population having been abducted by aliens. Long story. Still, despite my absolute uselessness at planning a city I still love the city-builder genre. I get an immense sense of pride when I finally get everything running just right. So here we are with Anno 1800, the latest in the long-running series. But does it let me cock things up in new and exciting ways?
Considering that World War Z, the film starring Brad Pitt based on the book that didn’t star Brad Pitt, came out waaaaay back in 2013 it seems a tad odd to release an official World War Z videogame some six years later. And yet here we are. But despite being based upon the movie World War Z is much more like a sequel to Left 4 Dead 2 in spirit, if not in name. Also, this doesn’t star Brad Pitt, either.
Ah, the Devil’s Lettuce. Wacky baccy. Weed. Cannabis. Grass. Green stuff. The thing you were told to say no to. There are many words for marijuana, but it’s not a subject we see in video games very often, even despite the growing acceptance of its usage and potential medical benefits. Devolver Digital and developer Vile Monarch must have reckoned there was a space in the market then. Their game, Weedcraft Inc is all about weed. Or more specifically, how to make some money from growing and selling it. Can this light strategy game give players a buzz, though?
El Presidente is back and ready to rule a tropical paradise once again. It’s amazing to think that this city-building franchise is in its sixth game, yet here I am reviewing Tropico 6. Having enjoyed the previous games I came into this one looking forward to once again controlling a slice of the Caribbean and somehow managing to cock it up in new and inventive ways.
Its very possible that you’ve never even heard of Generation Zero, a small game developed by just a few people in Avalanche Studios. Developed on a relatively tiny budget, it’s the kind of project that more big companies need to do; small scale, more creative endeavours. So, Generation Zero is a primarily a co-op FPS that can be played solo if you like, made on a small budget and probably wasn’t even on your radar. But should it have been?
On paper, I think hurling magic fireballs and casting spells is a near perfect match for the wonders of VR gaming. Who doesn’t want to wave their hands in a vaguely mystical fashion to summon an ice bow? The Wizards attempts to capture the mystic arts by making you swing your hands around like you’re trying to swat a wasp that has no concept of personal space. To the outside world you look like a raving lunatic, but in The Wizards: Enhanced Edition you’re wielding powerful forces.
It’s pretty crazy that both Anthem and Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 launched in the same month, both offering stacks of loot and lots of shooting. On paper, at least, Anthem sounded like such a cool prospect versus the more grounded reality of The Division 2. Mechanized suits, an alien world, potentially awesome types of loot to hunt down. Yet here we are: Anthem was a disappointment and The Division 2 has wound up improving on the first game in nearly every area. Even with the constraints on loot that a realistic setting imposes the people at Massive have crafted a more interesting loot system than Bioware could manage with their creative freedom. So let’s delve in and review Tom Clancy’s The Division 2.
11-years have passed since the last true Devil May Cry game was launched. In the span of time since 2008 we got a reboot of the franchise in the form of the oddly named DmC: Devil May Cry, a game that I actually quite liked but that did not go down well with fans. Finally, though, we have a true sequel in the form of Devil May Cry 5. Nero and Dante are back and ready to kick some demonic buttocks. It’s time to welcome back Devil May Cry and watch as it retakes its throne.